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ACC men's basketball power rankings: North Carolina lands just behind Duke in final rankings

Despite losing its regular-season finale to North Carolina, Duke closes out the season as the wire-to-wire No. 1 team.
Despite losing its regular-season finale to North Carolina, Duke closes out the season as the wire-to-wire No. 1 team.

With the regular season in the books and the ACC tournament starting Tuesday, our beats are here for the last time this season to give you The Chronicle's Power Rankings of each team vying for the ACC crown.

1. Duke (26-5, 16-4)

Previous ranking: 1 // Average ranking: 1.0

Well, that was a sour note to end the season on. The Blue Devils couldn't get head coach Mike Krzyzewski the storybook ending that the Duke faithful wanted so badly, but all in all, it was quite the season for Duke. It took home its first outright ACC regular-season title since 2006 and proved that it can dominate in venues away from Cameron Indoor Stadium, something that will be crucial in postseason play. There’s no argument against Duke as the best team in the ACC, but the Blue Devils will have to find a way to play at the level they did against opponents like Kentucky and Gonzaga instead of how they did at home against Virginia, Miami and North Carolina. -Jake Piazza

2. North Carolina (23-8, 15-5)

Previous ranking: 4 // Average ranking: 2.0

There might not be a better way to end a regular season than the way the Tar Heels did. They won seven of their last eight games and that seventh win came against Duke in Krzyzewski’s last-ever game at Cameron. And as a reward, North Carolina checked in at No. 25 in the final AP Poll of the season, a fitting way to show just how hot this squad is heading into postseason play. The Tar Heels have been anchored all year by junior big man Armando Bacot and the 3-point shooting of graduate forward Brady Manek, but the guard play recently has seen an improvement, especially from sophomore Caleb Love. To sum it up, I wouldn’t want this squad on my team’s side of the NCAA tournament bracket. -Piazza

3. Notre Dame (22-9, 15-5)

Previous ranking: 2 // Average ranking: 3.5

Well, this is unusual. The Fighting Irish finished the season at 15-5 in ACC play, tied for the second-best record in the conference. It was the first time since 2017 that Notre Dame finished as a top-three team, but that year the team went 12-6. The Fighting Irish played a decent final week, losing narrowly to Florida State Wednesday evening before bouncing back to crush Pittsburgh in their regular-season finale thanks to strong play from guard Cormac Ryan. Notre Dame will face off against the winner of Virginia Tech's matchup with either Clemson or NC State Thursday night in the ACC tournament quarterfinals. ESPN’s Bracketology has Notre Dame as a No. 10 seed, but that could easily change depending on its conference tournament results. -Glen Morgenstern

4. Wake Forest (23-8, 13-7)

Previous ranking: 3 // Average ranking: 3.8

After a disappointing loss to Clemson in the leadup to last week’s rankings, Wake Forest bounced back and finished its regular season in near-perfect fashion: The Demon Deacons scored 200 points across their final two contests against Louisville and N.C. State to win by an average margin of 23.5 points. Still, newly-minted ACC Coach of the Year Steve Forbes’ squad faces an uphill climb at the conference tournament after missing out on the double-bye by a single position. Miami beat Wake Forest twice in as many tries this year, and a single win by the Demon Deacons against one of Pittsburgh or Boston College would set up a third meeting. -Jonathan Levitan

5. Miami (22-9, 14-6)

Previous ranking: 5 // Average ranking: 4.9

With the regular season in the books and the Hurricanes sitting pretty with a top-four seed and a double-bye at the conference tournament, the moment is right to step back and appreciate this year’s Miami team. Ranked 12th in the ACC’s preseason media poll—just ahead of Wake Forest, who surveyed at 13th—Miami didn’t take long to exceed expectations, and after a January win on the road against Duke, cemented itself as one of the conference’s very best. No, the Hurricanes didn't wind up on top of the ACC at the end of the day, but after wrapping things up with consecutive wins against Boston College and Syracuse, they should be an NCAA tournament team and are a bonafide threat to make some noise in Brooklyn, N.Y., this week. -Levitan

Complete rankings:

1. Duke (PR: 1 // AR: 1.0)

2. North Carolina (PR: 4 // AR: 2.0)

3. Notre Dame (PR: 2 // AR: 3.5)

4. Wake Forest (PR: 3 // AR: 3.8)

5. Miami (PR: 5 // AR: 4.9)

6. Virginia (PR: 7 // AR: 6.1)

7. Florida State (PR: 8 // AR: 7.4)

8. Virginia Tech (PR: 6 // AR: 7.5)

9. Clemson (PR: 10 // AR: 9.0)

10. Syracuse (PR: 9 // AR: 10.0)

11. Louisville (PR: 11 // AR: 12.0)

12. Pittsburgh (PR: 12 // AR: 12.8)

13. Georgia Tech (PR: 15 // AR: 12.9)

14. Boston College (PR: 13 // AR: 13.1)

15. N.C. State (PR: 14 // AR: 14.1)

Take a look at last week's Power Rankings here.


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